Can a city boy build his dream homestead on a mountain, by himself and with no mortgage?

Archive for November, 2011

new trees, darker days and the reality of it all

Thanksgiving for me has always been bittersweet. I love turkey feasts and the gathering of friends and family. At the same time, I dread the onset of shorter, darker days and the cyclical unemployment that comes when Hollywood goes on holiday. This year, it seems, will not disappoint in its consistancy. I took the above photo yesterday afternoon on my drive down the mountain. The warmth of the afternoon is at odds with the layer of cold dreary mid-day mist, sort of how I’ve been feeling lately.

 

I am thrilled to have met a fellow wilderness devotee and my alleged doppelgänger. He has agreed to let me blog about him if I use the pseudonym “X”.  He contacted me through the blog and we have recently met and shared war stories.

X is close to my age, size & shape, bought a similar sized parcel of remote forest land on a neighboring mountain, was a freelance creative Hollywood professional for much of his life, and has now begun the transition to the wilderness living by building a 120 sq ft off-grid cabin which he recently doubled in size. Our similarities continue on into minute details but I think y’all get the idea.

X convinced me to plant some fresh trees on my land so I decided to do just that. 10 in all.

I spent a day digging and planting and another day raking watering and mulching. It was one of the most fun things I have ever done. I’ve never been one to garden but after spending time with my hands in the earth, I was hooked. I understand why so many older women in their golden years delight in grooming their prize azaleas, rose bushes and hydrangeas. Count me in, ladies, I’ll even wear the big floppy hat!

These are some of my new babies before and after they were covered in a layer of mulch…

X tells me that they will grow a few feet every year so I planted some near the cabin for shade and ’cause they’re pretty.

The days are now get dark by 5pm so I’m glad my new outdoor fireplace is working like a charm. It’s throwing off heat in the face of my 29 degree nights, as well as illuminating the cabin when I retire indoors for bed!

One of the things I don’t read much about in other tiny house blogs is the feeling of isolation. I love the solitude, peace and quiet of my land, heck, sometimes I drive up there on a slow night just so I can wake up to the sound of quails and the smell of the mountain air. Truth be told however, after a few days it gets lonely. Ryo Chijiiwa on his “Laptop and a Rifle” blog touched on this subject early on but many other small living pioneers rarely mention it.

Is it just me or do we all get lonely out in the woods? I know many of this new “tiny” community are paired up and living with a partner but my life is complex to the point where I’ve not been able to settle in with someone who can just drop everything and run off to the woods forever. Maybe it’s just the inherited restless nature of my soul or maybe I need to commit to living in either city or on mountain. Either way, lately I seem to be driving myself up and down a familiar road,  going intentionally back into the cold but familiar mist at the bottom of my mountain.

 


What kind of dog is that?!

I was sitting on my new patio set the other day when I realized I was being watched by a critter. I looked at it, it looked at me. It was kinda like a big skinny dog with HUGE ears, some kind of jackalope?? I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots but it scampered off, down the hill and into the brush.

Guess I was lucky. It looked nice and it didn’t attack, but out in the wild, you never know what danger lurks in the bushes. I definitely dodged a bullet on that!

I was visiting family in Arizona last week and did some hiking on the Salt River outside of Phoenix. It was extraordinarily beautiful!

Saguaro cactus and plenty of scampering critters kept me on my toes, weather was a perfect 85 degrees and dry. I came back to California to find wet, grey and c-c-c-cold weather.

I was able to lay a large load of gravel around my new outdoor fireplace and do some spot repairs to the trailer’s rubber roof. Looks like we’re in for a snowy winter and I want to be ready!

Not much else is going on right now. Work is slow so I’m simply enjoying the fruits of my labor, staring at the view and meeting new furry friends. I’m planning a weekend with some of my “outdoorsy” homies before it gets too cold (I think Garzo is allergic to the snow). Now that the ground is wet, it’ll be a lot of fun to finally get a fire roaring.

Here’s to a very pleasant and restful Autumn!

e.